Place a sharper focus on recruiting

Culture fit, credibility, and tech acumen are growing in importance.

April 19, 2017

Although millennials and social media have altered how companies attract new employees, recruiters also have become savvier about the “how” of recruiting. Personal references, for example, don’t count as much as they once did.

“We do ‘indirect references,’ where we find out more about candidates than we would from the references they provide,” says Charles Shanley, executive vice president at John M. Floyd & Associates, a financial industry recruitment services firm and a CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider.

Indirect references can include talking to the people who work around a recruit but haven’t provided a reference.

“When candidates list references, we know they’re all going to be good because the candidate has made sure those references will say only good things,” Shanley says.

A decade of change

Another dramatic change has occurred in the past decade: Credit unions no longer conduct continuous searches for candidates who meet minimum requirements for a position.

“Today, companies focus intensely on exactly what they expect and what competencies they seek,” says Janice Shisler, founder/principal at JSpire Recruiting. “At the C-level, those competencies include business execution, strategy, collaboration, and leadership.”

She adds that credit unions seeking alternative points of view increasingly are willing to recruit from other industries. 

SIDEBAR: HR providers can address complexity, compliance

Shanley’s list of C-level competencies includes vision, cultural fit, strategic direction, previous tenure, progressive career advancement, and leadership. “That latter quality is especially important with community chartered credit unions that do close work with select employee groups [SEGs],” he says.

“We offer what some might even call a brutally thorough process that focuses on every detail, large and small,” he adds, “so clients know we have vetted as thoroughly as possible the candidates we recommend for a position.”

That assessment includes:

  • DiSC Assessment, which demonstrate how an employee likes to be managed.
  • An assessment tool from the Omnia Group, a company JSpire Recruiting works with closely that can tease out accurate takes about prospects’ qualifications even if they’re very personable or good at lying.

Shisler customizes clients’ searches. “Each has different needs, which can range from a simple ‘send us the resumes of what you have determined are the most qualified candidates’ to a full-on background vetting and profiling of candidates,” she says. “For example, if a large credit union has a vice president who will retire midyear, we’ll start the recruitment process in January and expect to make recommendations in March.

“Typically, we’ll recruit from larger credit unions,” Shisler continues. “If a $500 million asset credit union is looking for a C-level recruit, I’ll look for candidates among credit unions with $1 billion or more in assets. You can entice recruits at larger credit unions with the prospect of working in a place
where they can stand out more and advance more quickly.”

Shanley says he’ll sometimes recruit from within banks, which are sales-driven. “But we insist that candidates must understand credit union culture before we can recommend them,” he says.

NEXT: Looking for high potential

Looking for high potential

It’s important to identify promising candidates even if they might lack one of the skill sets the client wants, such as a specific certification, Shisler says.

“We might advise a client that a candidate is very good and that the special certification is something the candidate can quickly and easily address,” she adds. “I recently recommended a candidate who had a law degree for a C-suite position. That degree wasn’t essential or a requirement for the position, but a lawyer’s analytical skills can be of great use in that particular role.”

Shanley places a high priority on determining whether a candidate fits a credit union’s culture.

“Culture can be hard to define, although it’s the biggest question we ask,” he says. “The credit union board often can’t define it, so we ask lower-level employees to define it. Because all credit unions are member-centric—focused on families or SEGs—what you’re looking for in a candidate is somebody who understands how to introduce different products to the membership, which often depends on the type of SEG you serve.”

Shanley also looks for prospects who understand and embrace technology, especially with regard to outreach to millennials, a sought-after demographic.

“This group is unlikely to have paper resumes—you can find them on social media," he says. "They have fewer expectations about tenure and are more likely to focus on benefits and time off. Managers have to adjust their management styles to an employee base composed more and more of millennials.”

“Technology has changed so much in the past few years,” Shisler says. “Social media has become a prime way to recruit, especially among millennials. That’s why we look at LinkedIn, Facebook, job boards, and other sites.”

The value of hunting

Another wrinkle to recruiting is contacting candidates who aren’t in the market. “We are also hunters and will approach people who aren’t looking for a job,” Shanley says. “We have a huge database: 90,000 financial industry people.”

Compiling that database was a labor of love, he adds. “In the early going, we did it old-school: We picked up the phone and cold-called prospective clients.”

Not everybody looking for a job wants to put their heart into a job, Shanley cautions. “A credit union looking to hire should be aware of whether a candidate is unqualified, or unhappy or unemployed.”

Shisler agrees that recruitment professionals seek candidates who are ready to take the next leap in their career, but might not have sought an opportunity to make a change.

“Most recruits are flattered at being approached out of the blue for an important position,” she says. “They realize their value after being sought out by a professional recruiter and become excited about the next chapter in their career. While comfortable in their current position, the thought of making an
impact elsewhere can be exciting.”

This article first appeared in Credit Union Magazine. Subscribe now to the print and digital edition, and download the Credit Union Magazine app.